13 Dec 2009 09:59 pm

Chicken – Chorizo Chili

1 cup dried pinto beans or black beans
1 bay leaf

2 chicken leg & thigh quarters
½ lb Mexican-style (fresh) chorizo

1 medium sized onion, chopped medium-fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped medium-fine
1 carrot, peeled & finely diced
½ cup frozen whole corn kernals
1-3 tablespoons chili powder
1-2 tsp whole cumin seeds

½ cup good quality beer
1 can whole tomato
1-2 tsp Mexican oregano
1-2 tsp dried epazote, woody stem pieces removed

½ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Pick over the dried beans carefully for stones and rinse in cold water. Cover with water and soak at least two hours or overnight. Pour off soaking water and place beans in a heavy saucepan with enough water to cover beans by one inch. Add the whole bay leaf & bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are soft and skins break & curl back when beans are blown upon (30-40 minutes). Drain beans, reserving cooking liquid.

In a small, heavy-bottomed skillet, toast the cumin seeds over medium-low heat until brown & fragrant, (approx 10 minutes). Grind finely with a mortar & pestle or in a clean coffee grinder.

Rinse the chicken pieces well and pat dry on paper towels. Rub all over with salt and pepper.

Brown the chorizo in a large, heavy saucepan, breaking it up with a spatula or sharp-edged spoon until it has a crumbly texture. When the chorizo is fully browned remove it with a slotted spoon, leaving the rendered fat in the pan.

Place the chicken pieces skin-side down in the pan and cook at medium-high heat until golden-brown (approximately 15 minutes), turning as necessary for even browning. Remove from pan and set aside.

Spoon out all but two tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, carrot and garlic. Cook and stir over medium heat until the onion is translucent (approx 10 minutes), scraping up all browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in 1 tsp salt, then add the chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, five minutes longer.  Stir in cooked beans, beer, ½ cup of the bean cooking liquid, and any liquid that has drained off from the chicken pieces. Add tomatoes, squeezing each one through your fingers to break it up, and ¼ cup of tomato liquid. Add oregano and epazote. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook uncovered over low heat 20 minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir in corn kernels, then return chicken parts to pan, completely submerging them. Continue simmering until chicken is fully cooked and tender, 30-40 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

When cool enough to handle, remove chicken parts and separate the meat from the bones. Finely shred chicken meat and stir it into the chili. Add cilantro and additional salt and pepper as desired.

Top with crumbled queso fresco, sour cream and sliced avocados, Serve with cornbread or warm tortillas.

6 Responses to “Chicken – Chorizo Chili”

  1. on 13 Dec 2009 at 11:27 pm 1.Brooke said …

    What does the epazote add? I’ve heard of it, but never cooked with it.

    Glad to hear someone else ate chili over white rice as a kid! I wonder how that originated…

  2. on 13 Dec 2009 at 11:46 pm 2.daveklop said …

    Hey Brooke — epazote has a pretty unique aroma and flavor — dry, a little pungent, maybe slightly bitter. It’s hard to describe. I sometimes think of its fragrance as ‘foot-like,’ though I know that’s not much of a recommendation. Anyway it goes very well in refried beans, or in dishes where beans are a major component. Here in NYC if I keep my eyes open I’m sure I can find fresh epazote, but for now I used the dried stuff, which I get from “Two for the Pot,” the spice and coffee guy on Clinton & Atlantic. Wish I could tell you more but it’s actually a pretty recent discovery for me.

  3. on 14 Dec 2009 at 9:00 am 3.emily said …

    You know, I think I spotted fresh epazote at the Grand Army Plaza farmer’s market two weekends ago. It was sort of hidden away between one lady’s different big bunches of greens and things she was also selling. Definitely worth checking out. :)

    As for the chili, I might have to use the ground turkey I have stashed in my fridge instead of the chicken and throw this together this week. Sounds so good, especially for these cold Brooklyn days.

  4. on 16 Dec 2009 at 5:03 pm 4.daveklop said …

    It seems like once or twice I saw someone selling potted epazote plants at Union Square, but I don’t think I’ve seen it sold cut. It’ll be worth a trip to Grand Army Plaza to see if I can find it. I’ll be the fresh stuff is especially stinky!

  5. on 31 Dec 2009 at 10:50 am 5.essny said …

    that’s a nicely-styled bowl of chili!

  6. on 16 Jan 2012 at 4:34 pm 6.Crystal said …

    When do the bay leaf and cooked chorizo enter the picture?

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